RSM Goodbye: All My Children

Just read the news, via Twitter of course, that ABC has announced today that it will be cancelling both All My Children and One Life to Live. I can’t say that I am surprised by this move. The ratings have been going down as more women are working during the day (we were their original target demographic) and as more programming options are available. Making a daily soap opera is probably cheaper than a reality program, so I can understand the cost issue.

The thing is, it didn’t have to be this way.

I started watching All My Children when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My Mom, who didn’t work when I was younger, watched it in the afternoons. I would have the pleasure of getting to join her during the months of summer vacation home from school. When I was in high school, we got a VCR, so we were able to tape them. By this time Mom had gone to work to help the family pay for stuff, so she wasn’t home in the afternoons either.

When I went off to college I soon found out that friends of mine mostly fell into the group that watched the soaps on ABC. I was always an ABC soap kid. Never watched any other network. That seemed to be how everyone was. You either watched ABC or CBS or NBC but you rarely found someone who watched cross-network.

It was in the summers between graduate school years that I found usenet newsgroups. rec.arts.tv.soap (and then the subgrounds for abc, cbs, nbc) was my group. Watching my show (on tape delay) and then logging onto the university computer systems to read what other folks around the country thought about this or that thing that happened, or sharing spoilers that we’d heard from our local soap opera reports, was the most exciting thing back then. I am sure that today, it seems quaint since just about every show has a blog or an official site somewhere complete with forum and fans. But back then, in the 1990s, we had usenet and usenet was a haven for soap fans. 🙂

I kept watching All My Children (OLTL was always one I’d leave and return to from time to time) up until I had kids. Once they came along, by TV time was limited. It was about that time, too, that the soaps forgot what they were supposed to be about (family, and the human condition that is living life) and started to go for flashy camera tricks or short range stories and stopped rembering what kept viewers coming back.

To say that other things affected viewership is a disservice to those viewers, like me, who grew up watching these shows. We didn’t grow away from them, they forgot who they were. The new writers came in and forgot that the shows should be about families. I could tell you every member of the Martin family on AMC, but when I watch it now, I can’t hardly tell who is related to whom. This might sound silly since Soaps were stereotyped as places where the outlandish was commonplace (characters died and came back to life with regularity) but in the end, it wasn’t the stunts that kept the viewers, it was the payoff: the reunion of our favorite couple, the happy ending.

I stopped watching AMC for good when they killed off Dixie Martin with a plate of poisoned pancakes. Not only was that a ridiculous way to die, her death meant the death of any chance of a reunion of Tad and Dixie. If Tad would never again be with Dixie, then this was a world that I wasn’t interested in visiting any longer. When Agnes Nixon started All My Children, she understood this sort of feeling, this sort of ownership of characters. The writers of the last 10 years simply have no idea.

So, while I no longer watch AMC, I am sorry it will not be around again, because like the Tad and Dixie reunion that I will never see, I will also never see a time when AMC returned to the storytelling it was so good at back in my day.

RSM.

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About rocketsciencemom
I am a rocket scientist in my day job, and a mother of two all the time. I'm a pop culture addict and amateur artist in my spare time. My typical preferences tend toward sci-fi and fantasy genres but I love a good drama or comedy. Reading the blogs of fellow Lost fans over the years has motivated me to finally write my own. In addition to starting this blog, I have been writing for the parenting blog GNMParents under the name RocketScienceMom (or RSM for short). All drawings and images on this blog are property of RocketScienceMom

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